Put community first

August 24, 2023

Crafting a Legacy of Hope and Beauty: The Journey of Cherise Bruno and Beloved Beadwork

A strand of beads, carefully woven together, tells a story of resilience, hope, and culture. Cherise Bruno is the passionate Métis creator behind Beloved Beadwork from Lethbridge, Alberta, and is a 2023 Pow Wow Pitch Semi-Finaist. “I started my business as part of my healing journey,” she reflected. “And I continue to support others and give them hope that recovery is possible.” For her, every bead has a purpose, and each creation emanates from a place of love and healing.

Beloved Beadwork specializes in custom beaded loom-style lanyards. While it may seem a niche market, it’s the soul and story behind each product that sets it apart. “My products are unique because I put love and passion into each one I make,” Cherise said. For now, her venture remains a one-woman show, but she harbours dreams of scaling it: “My goals are to get my product into stores!”

“The rewards are endless! Giving my creations to the clients and seeing their faces light up in happiness is priceless,” she beamed. The challenges Cherise faces revolve around a fundamental need: materials. “Lack of materials… I sometimes have to wait for an order or payday to buy more beads, string, and needles,” she shared.

Her application to the Pow Wow Pitch was almost serendipitous. “I saw the ad on Instagram and decided why not!” Cherise remarked. The entire experience has enriched her entrepreneurial journey, fostering gratitude and humility. The mentorship provided by Pow Wow Pitch Mentor Annette Stewart from RBC was also particularly helpful. “She was absolutely amazing and very supportive! I learned so much from her… she went out of her way to support me and and provide feedback on my pitch. I am so grateful for her support.” 

Drawing from her Indigenous heritage, Cherise emphasized the importance of community in entrepreneurship. “It’s super important to have a strong community with our people,” she mused. Even though she’s originally from Northern Alberta, her move helped her connect deeply with the Blackfoot culture. This connection infuses her work, life, and business ethos, fostering hope, especially for those grappling with addiction.

Cherise’s biggest lesson as an entrepreneur mirrors this sentiment: “Community is most important!” To budding Indigenous entrepreneurs, Cherise offers simple yet profound advice: “Just do it! Run with your idea and make it happen! The possibilities are endless!”

Beloved Beadwork is not just about ornamental creations; it’s a testament to Cherise’s journey, resilience, and the transformative power of community and culture. Through her work, she casts hope, emphasizing that there’s always a way to heal, evolve, and thrive.

Register to watch Cherise pitch at the Startup Semi-Final Online Watch Party on September 5, 2023, at 7 PM ET and vote for Cherise to win the 2023 People’s Choice Prize (#10) before September 17, 2023.